Photo Courtesy of CVS Health
If Gov. Cuomo signs the bill into law, then CVS would be one of the chain pharmacies that would be required to collect unused, unwanted or expired controlled substances from the public.
By Forum Staff
The State Senate and Assembly have approved legislation that will require chain pharmacies to collect unused, unwanted or expired controlled substances from the public, State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. announced on Monday.
In recent years, New York has established voluntary programs encouraging pharmacies to join with other businesses identified by the Federal Drug Administration as authorized collectors of unused, unwanted or expired medications. This legislation builds upon those efforts, Addabbo said, and establishes a program under which New York residents can mail back medications to out of state pharmacies where they purchase prescription drugs. Envelope costs will be held to $2. Chain pharmacies are those defined as having ten or more establishments operating under the same name, and they will also be required to post signs about available drug disposal options.
“Evidence, is growing that medications are making their way into our water systems and other parts of our environment, affecting aquatic life and raising questions about the impact of this contamination on public health,” said Addabbo, a member of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee. “We need to make it easier for consumers to dispose of unwanted medications in a safe and secure manner, and requiring larger pharmacies operating in New York to offer disposal services is part of the solution.”
A 2014 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study tested samples from 50 large wastewater treatment plants nationwide for the presence of 56 drugs. Addabbo noted that more than half the samples tested positive for at least 25 of the monitored medications. In addition, prescription drug use is rising. According to a 2013 Mayo Clinic study, almost 70 percent of all Americans take at least one prescription medication, which is up from 48 percent in 2007-2008. Another concern is that the improper disposal of controlled substances, or keeping them sitting in medicine cabinets for long periods of time, is adding to the opioid addiction epidemic across the state and nation.
“This legislation complements another bill I co-sponsor which would require that more information about safe drug disposal options and events be compiled on a state website coordinated by the State Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation,” Addabbo added.
The bill requiring chain pharmacies to collect controlled substances for proper disposal has been sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for final review.